Pakistan ponders close scrutiny of seminaries’ funding
KABUL (Pajhwok): In an effort to effectively enforce a national action plan against terrorism, Pakistan is considering close scrutiny of funding of thousands of religious schools, a media report said on Wednesday.
The complex issue of seminary funding through unconventional means came up for discussion at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad late on Tuesday, Dawn reported.
Most of Pakistan-based religious schools receive funds from Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and the UAE. Islamabad will try to take them into confidence on the issue.
Ambassadors of the countries would be consulted on how they could check unregulated fund transfers to religious schools, particularly those linked to outlawed organisations, the newspaper said.
In order to deal with the challenge, the meeting proposed annual audit of seminary funds be made mandatory. “We can make seminaries statutorily responsible to declare all sources of funding,” one participant said.
In an expected reaction, the Ittehad-i-Tanzeemat-i-Madaris (ITM), which claims to have around 25,000 schools running under its patronage, opposed the initiative.
ITM leader Mufti Muneebur Rehman hit out at the government for “unnecessarily” raising the issue of seminary financing. “How can a government which itself is surviving on foreign funding check others doing the same?” he asked.
Abdul Qudoos, speaking for the Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arabia -- an umbrella body for seminaries of the Deobandi school of thought -- said their main source of funding was donations from locals.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.